Chances now 71% for strong El Niño

Ocean and weather join forces
Ocean and atmospheric conditions currently point to El Niño conditions worldwide, which are likely to prevail throughout the 2023-24 summer season.
Elvira Hattingh
El Niño is expected to maintain its grip on global weather patterns this summer, with a 95% chance that it will dominate from January to March.
In addition, the chances of a strong El Niño occurring during the rainy season have increased by around 71%.
This according to America's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) latest outlook status of 14 September. This watch status is a joint effort by the NOAA, the NOAA's National Weather Service and companies that fund these organisations.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology also said in its latest Enso outlook status of 19 September that an El Niño as well as a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) are on the way.
The Namibian weather office's chief forecaster, Odillo Kgobetsi, told our sister publication Republikein that the seasonal forecast for Namibia will not be available until mid-October.
"Representatives of the Namibian weather service are currently attending the 27th annual Southern African Climate Foresight Forum (SARCOF) in Mauritius and a statement will be available afterwards," he said.
Warm ocean
"A strong El Niño does not necessarily mean a big impact on weather patterns. The odds of related weather anomalies are usually smaller than the odds of El Niño itself," the NOAA added.
However, data show that August sea surface temperatures were above average in the equatorial Pacific. It has itself shown growing trends in the central and eastern parts of the Pacific Ocean. In addition, conditions in the atmosphere in the tropical parts also showed deviations - consistent with El Niño conditions, says the NOAA.
The Australian Bureau agrees that ocean indicators maintain El Niño conditions, while its weather models also indicate that further warming of the central to eastern Pacific Ocean is a possibility.
While the bureau said until now atmospheric conditions have not yet teamed up with oceans to amplify El Niño conditions, that has now changed. The bureau says there are now signs that the atmosphere is responding to warmer sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean.
The NOAA said that conditions in the ocean and atmosphere support each other and are consistent with El Niño conditions, which is an indication that these weather conditions may prevail during the Southern Hemisphere's summer of 2023-24.
The Climate Prediction Center updates oceanic and atmospheric conditions weekly. The next ENSO discussion will take place on 12 October this year.
The Australians also say the Indian Ocean's sea surface temperature is warmer than normal, which gives the IOD its positive values. All weather models used by the bureau indicate that the positive IOD will continue for at least the rest of the spring. – [email protected]